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A 6-STEP-GUIDE TO RESPONDING TO DATA SUBJECT ACCESS REQUESTS

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With GDPR, organizations had to change the way they collect and process customer data. Customers gained a variety of new rights regarding their personal information and one of those rights is the right to access.

This means that companies had to become much more transparent when it comes to data handling and customers became entitled to know exactly what personal information companies have on them and how they use that information.

To get this information, they need to submit a data subject access request.

Let’s see what every company should know about data subject access requests and how to respond to them in order to stay compliant with data privacy regulations.

 

What is a Data Subject Access Request?

A Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) can be submitted by anyone who wants to know which personal data you have on them and you’re obligated to provide them with a copy of that data.

These requests usually ask for a complete list of all personal data you have on the subject, but sometimes the subject will request only the specific information. Either way, you are required to provide all the information they ask for.

Here’s a list of requests you might encounter from subjects:

  • Information whether you collect and process their personal data;
  • Legal basis for collecting and processing their data;
  • Information about the source of data and how it was acquired;
  • Information about how long you’ll store their data;
  • The names of any third parties you share their information with;
  • Request to gain access to their personal data;

Subjects need no particular reason to submit a DSAR. They can request to access their data at any point. You can only ask them questions that help you verify their identity and help them locate the requested data.

You should respond to these requests as soon as possible and without any delays. Generally, you should be able to respond within one month, but if their request is too complex or you have too many of them at the same time, you may get a deadline extension. You will however still have to provide information about the delay within the first month.

 

The Challenges of Responding to a DSAR

Most companies have experienced massive growth in data collection over the last decade. However, not every organization pays close attention to data management. Without centralized and well-organized data storage, it can be challenging to gather all data on the requester, especially on a tight deadline.

Customer data is everywhere from your CRM software to your email servers. It can be challenging to find all the subject’s information if it’s scattered around.

Moreover, personal data needs to be protected from tampering and stored in secured storage in order to avoid data breaches and malicious (or even accidentally) attempts at making changes to sensitive information.

To overcome these challenges, you should rely on tools that will help you store your data safely and easily access it whenever possible.

For instance, a single email can contain tons of personal information that may be part of a DSAR. However, most companies don’t keep emails in their inboxes but instead opt for email archiving solutions that help them keep sensitive data secure, tamper-proof, and readily searchable.

These solutions will help you remain compliant not only by making responding to data subject access requests easy and efficient but also by creating custom email retention policies and limiting access to certain data.

Make sure that you have the right tools before you receive DSARs as they will allow you to greet them prepared and respond in a timely manner without any issues.

 

Responding to a DSAR: a step-by-step guide

When it comes to handling a DSAR, there is no strict, formal process in place. However, there are some steps that can follow that can help you seamlessly respond to DSAR.

1. Verify the Subject’s Identity

First, you should verify the identity of the person who submitted the request. This is a necessary step in order to determine whether you even have the information the requester is looking for.

Be careful to safely distribute data from the beginning, as sending the subject’s information to the wrong person within your organization may be a data breach.

2. Determine the Nature of the Request

Next, you should carefully review the request to establish exactly what the subject wants to know.

Usually, requesters will simply request to see all their personal data you’ve collected. However, they may also request rectification if they think the data is inaccurate and needs correction.

This is a good time to determine whether you’ll be able to respond to the request within one month or not, and request more time from the subject if you estimate that this time frame is not realistic.

3. Review the Subject’s Data

Before sending collected data to the subject, you should carefully review it. Make sure that you didn’t accidentally include anyone else’s data, to avoid committing a data breach.

You can also add explanations for why you are collecting each piece of data, what you are using it for, and how you are storing it.

4: Collect all Data and Formulate the Response

The next step you should take is to gather all of the subject’s data and formulate the response.

Opt for a file type that’s easily accessible and commonly used. The GDPR encourages companies to give subjects direct access to their data whenever possible.

Besides that, there are no strict rules regarding the format of your response. It will mainly depend on the type and volume of data you’re providing. Just make sure that your response is as comprehensive as possible and that it contains all of the information the subject asked for.

5: Remind the Subject about their Rights

Your response should also include a section about the subject’s data privacy rights at the end. Remind the requester that they have the right to request data rectification, submit a complaint to supervising authorities, or even object to collecting and processing of their data altogether.

6: Send the Response to the Subject

Finally, send the finalized response to the subject. Make sure that you’re documenting your communications with the subject in case you need to demonstrate compliance and accountability in an audit trail.

Responding to a data subject access request shouldn’t be too complicated, but it can be a tedious and long process. To help you make sure that you haven’t missed any important information and to make the whole process more streamlined, follow these 6 steps. They will help you respond to data subject access requests quickly and remain compliant without any bumps down the road.

 

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SET YOUR BUSINESS UP FOR SALES SUCCESS IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD

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SET YOUR BUSINESS UP FOR SALES SUCCESS IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD

Dean Fiveash, Head of FinTech Sales, IFX

Without doubt the Coronavirus pandemic impacted every aspect of our lives and fundamentally changed the way in which we all conduct business.

From the widespread adoption of working from home, to the amplified focus on employee wellbeing and work life balance, to simply acknowledging that people are more than their job titles and are often juggling childcare, pets and terrible wifi issues all whilst trying to do their job. The last 18 months have altered the way we work forever and in order to set our businesses up for success we have also needed to rethink how we operate.

Dean Fiveash

In a people facing sector like sales,  it’s  clear that the loss of face-to-face interaction is perhaps the biggest loss and an impending challenge as we slowly emerge from the confines of the pandemic. Gone are the days of instant downloads from ‘water cooler’ conversations with the team discussing deals or general matters. Instead, our inboxes and diaries are full of zoom catch ups. This isn’t to say that success has dwindled. Flexibility of working from home has helped many businesses to grow rapidly. In fact at IFX we have enjoyed our ten best months of company sales, but there is no denying the way in which we work within our teams has shifted. So how can you set up your sales teams to maximise its chances of success?

 

Adapting To The Times

For many businesses operating during these unprecedented times the shift towards the work from home culture has seen its benefits. Speed is key in the fintech industry and video calls on top of isolated working has greatly improved our time efficiency allowing us to do more for our clients in the long run. Equally, with the workforce being spread around the country and in some cases even globally, came the need for further rigorous checks and processes to ensure the high standards set in the office environment are still being met.

Despite this I would argue that this made us better sales people, and in turn a more successful and thriving sales team.

Post-pandemic success is grounded in not just the talent of your employees but also how you choose to structure your teams. For me, the old adage ‘People Buy People’ remains the most relevant factor for developing a slick sales team. At the end of the day, the technical stuff can be learnt over time but the proficient people skills needed in client facing roles is more innate.

When evaluating team skills, individuals who demonstrate determination and the ability to keep smiling through adversity are a vital asset, especially in the fast paced fintech industry.

Having worked in numerous team leader roles within the sales industry,  I know the difference that a collegiate and supportive team can make to successfully securing deals. The key is to have people at your disposal who are going to pitch in to help others, in turn making the team more robust. In the post-pandemic world, this will remain the key quality to look for and embed as a core value across the business.

 

Fostering A Successful Culture 

Whilst the team structure and core skills are an important part of the team set up, good management and personal development structure is crucial to success. At IFX, our sales leadership team all have client portfolios and are regularly signing and navigating deals. It’s through giving my team practical experience and regular client interaction that we can gain far better market insight than through managing team activity or KPIs alone.

More discipline is also required when working at home to retain the sales focus whilst navigating domestic distractions. As such, maintaining your employee motivation and focus is something each business should work on. A difficult feat without the physical presence of your team and one balanced on knowing your employees and their individual needs. But little things go a long way, so incentives and perks such as company socials, bonuses or simply a free breakfast can work wonders to motivate others. Another tip is to set  attainable goals and regular check-ins with your team to keep motivation on track to reach peak productivity.

 

Looking Forward

Team dynamics will continue to change to adapt to the ever-changing and rapidly evolving landscape, the secret to success will remain the same.

Something to look forward to in the next couple of years as a movement,  is the greater adoption of smarter contracts and embedded FinTech, which of course as businesses and as a team we will have to adapt to.

Ultimately, my biggest piece of advice to others is to get the basics right.  A leading-edge solution fails to achieve greatness if it isn’t backed with competent sales/relationship managers and attentive operational support. Traditional ingredients for success such as reputation and trustworthiness are built over time, often through word of mouth, but building a competent team who can make your clients happy is essential to that mix

 

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THE EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY NEEDS OF THE FINANCE DEPARTMENT

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THE EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY NEEDS OF THE FINANCE DEPARTMENT

Jennifer Sims, Senior Consultant at Xledger

 

The world of finance software is evolving quickly, but with many new software contenders entering the market it can be a mindfield for organisations. Many finance teams are already using multiple accounting apps and software packages for bookkeeping, payroll and invoicing to service individual needs. Whilst it may work fine for now, this segregated approach isn’t sustainable for long-term growth. The world is swiftly moving to agile, automated ways of working. As a result, there is a growing need to choose suppliers that can fulfil multiple functionalities within the one platform.

Financial software is evolving at such a pace that it can be difficult to keep up. Changing up a finance solution is a big step and ease of migration can be a substantial factor in determining which solution provider to go with. But how do you choose a solution that will grow with your business and still offer something innovative in five or ten years down the line? The fear is always that non-techie organisations will end up falling behind, but in such a highly concentrated industry, how do you decide which solution would work best for you?

 

Cloud-first: the term that makes all the difference 

You could find a ‘cloud-based’ service with an application that comes with automated audit trails to make it easier to meet compliance and record-keeping obligations, for example. But for a solution to offer all of the many future benefits promised by the cloud, it needs to have been built specifically for a cloud environemt from the outset – ie. not an on-premise built system that has been later adapted. Cloud-first services (true cloud) were always intended to leverage economies of scale, cope with live updates, be accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, and to scale rapidly, to name just a few of the many benefits.

When we talk about innovation in financial technology, we’re not just talking about software that makes it easier for the financial controller to create reports. If eliminating reliance on Excel spreadsheets is the only tangible benefit you have to really shout about, you are missing out on the real deal. With ‘true’ cloud finance software the sky is the limit.

Finance and accounting technology needs to directly meet the needs of the finance function and support the wider business needs.  When looking at accounting software platforms you’d be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t now promise ‘cloud-based’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities. The cloud is nothing new, but it’s the way that a solution harnesses this environment that makes a real difference. And here is where there is a need to read between the lines.

 

Automate more with true cloud 

Historically, repetitive and manual tasks are typical of the finance role – from invoice postings to expense claims handling – these can overwhelm the finance team. Research by Xledger[1] has found that an enormous 91% of CFOs and finance decision makers are carrying out at least one of these repetitive tasks as part of their job. What’s more, senior finance leads are averaging a whopping 25 hours per week carrying out repetitive and manual tasks, compared with 15 hours for other finance decision makers.

A modern, true cloud finance system can enable your business to automate repetitive tasks and provide one source of truth so that teams can make informed business decisions that will help to scale a business. Bank reconciliation, dashboard creation and reporting are just some of the tasks that can be handled automatically.These capabilities are aiding overtasked finance teams and saving hundreds or thousands of hours a year.

Whilst different companies are at different stages in their digital transformation what is clear is keeping up with the latest technology is fundamental to the future success of an organisation.

Xledger is a true cloud finance solution. The basics include invoicing, robust general ledger accounting, detailed slice and dice reporting, purchase orders, billing, VAT reporting, and cash and bank payments. It also adds process and structure to the enterprise with procurement and inventory, budgeting and forecasting, and project accounting. Users are always on the latest version of the software and with regulation more stringent than ever today, Xledger is ISO 27001 accredited.

Choosing the right provider for your financial ERP solution comes down to whether it has the fundamentals right. When hosting all of your vital data in the providers’ own servers, it should evidence a highly tested security process that comes with backup services as standard.

As our demand for technology capabilities grows and as ERP models progress, innovation will become the structure for growth – and there is no end to the possibilities.

 

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